In 2020, plenty of events were cancelled or postponed in the face of the COVID-19 threat. Many turned to alternate solutions, such as digital events. With the pandemic still a real concern, the Game Developers Conference (GDC) has announced that 2021 will be more of the same with online events.
This new approach will consist of a series of online events that will run throughout 2021 under the GDC banner. According to GDC General Manager Katie Stern, the need for new formats and ways to offer content and community support all year long meant a change in direction.
2021 will mark the 35th anniversary of the conference. Instead of cramming everything into a single week, an extended version made more sense. Thus, the family of GDC 2021 online events was born.
The community and developers can expect a more flexible and accessible way of getting high-quality, curated content. The online experience will take full advantage of all the latest tools and capabilities of virtual conferences.
Prepping the groundwork
The scheduled online events for GDC 2021 are as follows:
- GDC Masterclass (March 4-5)
GDC Masterclass will consist of one and two-day small group virtual workshops that deliver in-depth, hands-on training around some of the most important challenges facing game developers in the modern age. The classes will be led by some of the sharpest minds in the industry. For those looking for a return to deeper, more intense learning that harkens back to GDC’s roots, this is for you. There will also be opportunities for individualized feedback and practical experience.
- GDC Showcase (March 15-19)
This first showcase event of the online GDC 2021 is a free-to-attend event created to provide the GDC community with a chance to come together safely. It will provide a taste of what GDC is all about while experimenting with a new variety of content and formats. Attendees can experience spotlight lectures, AMAs with the people behind some of the industry’s biggest games, interactive panels with renowned game developers, live podcasts, and more.
- GDC 2021 (July 19-23)
The more traditional week-long, multi-track educational and business-focused event is also back. GDC decided it is more important that speakers, attendees and sponsors deliver the best possible GDC. Developed with the advisory board, the conference will be filled with deep content with a focus on community-building, networking, and celebrations.
More than meets the eye
There are also the Independent Games Festival and the Game Developers Choice Awards. Both will return during the main GDC event. Submissions for the IGF awards have already gone in, with nominees to be revealed in early May. As for the GDCAs, the organization will have more to share in the coming months. Both awards will take place one after the other. You can catch all of the action live on the official GDC Twitch channel.
The second half of 2021 will also see more online events organized by the GDC. Details will be shared in the near future. This announcement follows after the Entertainment Software Association’s announcement of a digital E3 2021.
While we may not be able to enjoy things in person, it still feels good to know certain events will still be going on.